The atmosphere was pensive as seated family members and friends of Inspector Taiye Atobiloye sobbed quietly.
The sombre air was punctured anytime a new visitor rushed in, asked if the news was true and burst into searing tears.
Curled up in a corner of the two-bedroom apartment was Taiye’s wife, Oluwabukola, a teacher in a public school in Kwara State. She looked dishevelled and shattered.
After four stillbirths, her hope of being a mother after 12 years of marriage had just ended.
The bereaved woman kept wondering how her police husband died after seven days of being held incommunicado in a police cell in Lokoja.
“How could the police do this to one of their own?” she asked rhetorically.
“I want the world to know what they did to my husband. They collected a lot of money from him and tortured him to death,” she wailed.
Inspector Taiye, with force number 232980, was attached to the Oke Onigbin Police Division, Kwara State, after 22 years in the police force.
During a meeting at the division early April 2023, the Divisional Police Officer, Stephen Aigbogun, reportedly announced that a particular inspector would be deployed on special duty to Zone 8 Police Command, Lokoja, Kogi State.
The deceased’s wife alleged that the affected inspector, however, found a way to dodge the assignment and her husband was picked as a replacement.
According to her, the development created a sharp discord in the division, as 47-year-old Taiye rejected the deployment.
However, a senior officer reportedly prevailed on the Ikosi, Kwara State indigene, to go and wait at Ilorin while he pleaded on his behalf with the divisional officer.
She said, “My husband went to Ilorin on Tuesday, April 3, as the officer promised to call my husband the next day.
“But throughout that day, he did not. My husband called him on Wednesday night for an update and he said a signal had already been sent for my husband to report at Lokoja.
“My husband said he could not just go like that and that he would need to raise money for his transportation and accommodation. He promised to go the following Monday.
“But from Good Friday, the police started calling him from Lokoja and asking where he was.”
According to her, after getting enough money, Taiye travelled to Lokoja on Easter Monday with some medical papers indicating that he was not fit for the special assignment.
Saturday PUNCH gathered that in 2019, the inspector was involved in an accident while going for night duty.
His leg was said to have been crushed by a motorcycle.
At the time, he was hospitalised and underwent treatment after a series of X-rays at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.
Oluwabukola said her husband went to Lokoja with copies of his medical reports to appeal for a reversal of the deployment.
An Assistant Area Commander was said to have expressed shock at the posting of the inspector and promised to send another signal for him to return to Kwara.
According to the wife, Taiye was made to part with some funds to make the signal quicker.
“The assistant area commander assured him that the new signal was already being typed. He (the assistant area commander) said he was going to eat and my husband should not yet report.
“Before the man would return, he and the DPO at Oke Onigbin had spoken and reached another agreement.
“Because my husband had spent a lot of money, some of which he borrowed from me, without getting the letter, he left Lokoja on Thursday, April 13.
“When he returned, I asked why he did not stay and he said his spirit was troubled and that was why he returned home. I told him to go back since he did not have any other job and his uniform was still there. He promised to return next Tuesday,” she added.